Curlew SandpiperCalidris ferruginea

adult male, breeding
Michael P. Gage/VIREO
juvenile
R. J. Chandler/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding
Dr. Warwick Tarboton/VIREO
Curlew Sandpiper

Family

Description

8" (20 cm). Similar in size and shape to Dunlin, but entire bill noticeably curved. Summer adults are rich cinnamon or chestnut. Winter birds gray above and white below. Immatures have buff breast, upperparts marked with buff scaling. White rump visible in flight.

Voice

A soft dry chirrip.

Listen

various calls

Habitat

Breeds on tundra; chiefly coastal mudflats on migration.

Range

Breeds in Eurasia and very rarely in northern Alaska. A rare but regular migrant to East Coast, less common on West Coast. Winters mainly in Old World.

Discussion

Except for a small area on the Arctic coast of Alaska, where it is a rarity, this Old World species breeds solely in northern Siberia. During spring migration the adults are in their bright chestnut breeding plumage and, with their curved bills and white rumps, are easily distinguished in the field from their usual associates, the Red Knots and Dunlins. However, on fall migration in their dull winter plumage they are much more difficult to spot among the hordes of other shorebirds.

Nesting

4 yellow-buff eggs, with dark brown spots, in a depression on the ground in tundra.

Similar Species

adult, breeding

Dunlin

8 1/2" (22 cm). A starling-sized shorebird. Bill fairly long, with distinct droop at tip. Breeding adults have reddish back, whitish underparts, with black patch in center of belly.

adult, breeding

Red Knot

10.5" (27 cm). A robin-sized shorebird. Breeding adults have pinkish-rufous face and underparts, dark brown upperparts with pale feather edgings. Fall birds gray above, whitish below.

adult, breeding

Stilt Sandpiper

8 1/2" (22 cm). A starling-sized sandpiper with long greenish legs and long bill, slightly down-curved at tip. Wings lack stripe. Breeding adult has chestnut head stripes and barring below.

adult, breeding

Western Sandpiper

6 1/2" (17 cm). Similar to Semipalmated Sandpiper and not always easy to distinguish, but bill tends to be longer, with more evident droop at tip.

adult, breeding

Semipalmated Sandpiper

5 1/2-6 3/4" (14-17 cm). Slightly larger than a Least Sandpiper. In all plumages, grayer above with less-streaked breast than other "peeps." Feet black.

adult male, breeding

Red-necked Phalarope

7" (18 cm). A sparrow-sized swimming shorebird with a conspicuous wing stripe. Breeding adults have dark head and back, white chin and belly separated by chestnut upper breast and sides of neck.

adult male, breeding

Wilson's Phalarope

9" (23 cm). A strikingly patterned shorebird with a needle-like bill, pearl-gray head and back, white underparts, black stripe through eye and down neck, and chestnut markings on breast and back.

Vireo

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